The Indian Telecommunications industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy and is a catalyst for the socio-economic development of the nation. The importance of ‘connectivity’ was never so pronounced as it has been during the on-going pandemic to ensure business as well as life continues uninterrupted, and the telecom sector plays a very important role in making it all possible!
2021 has seen the operators and the industry gearing up for 5G with the government granting the trial spectrum to the operators. At Ericsson, we are engaging closely with all Indian operators and recently carried out 5G trials with Airtel and Vi where we demonstrated enhanced mobile broadband and FWA use cases with 5G. 5G will kickstart Industry 4.0 revolution and unlock new revenue streams for the operators thus, positively impacting economic growth of the country.
Going forward, we will likely find the most transformative use cases in critical IoT, where the speed, latency, and security of the 5G network will be key. Here we can see 5G’s potential to transform industries and society at large – with use cases such as smart manufacturing, smart cities, self-driving cars, and advanced healthcare applications just to mention a few. In fact, there are many implementations already today around the world spanning various segments including manufacturing, ports, airports, energy, mining, and oil & gas. In fact, Ericsson’s report – 5G for business: a 2030 market compass – estimates that there is an up to USD 700 billion addressable 5G for business opportunity for service providers globally by 2030. For India specifically, there is 17B USD opportunity for business providers across manufacturing, healthcare and public safety, energy and utilities, media, and entertainment, and automotive etc.
We must also note that COVID-19 has accelerated India’s digital transformation as more and more consumers rely on digital services – be it digital payments, remote health consultations, online retail, or video conferencing – to fulfil their business or personal needs. Accordingly, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth, boosted by people increasing their smartphone usage while staying at home. As per an Ericsson Consumer Study carried out in the early part of this year, at least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in first year of 5G being made available. Consumers in India are willing to pay 50 percent more for 5G plans with bundled digital services, compared to just 10 percent premium for 5G connectivity.
As per the November edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, 5G will represent around 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2027, estimated at about 500 million subscriptions and the average traffic per smartphone in India is projected to grow to around 50GB per month in 2027. As the operators gear up for 5G in India, we are helping them prepare for a seamless introduction of the technology based on our global deployment experience, our innovative and competitive 5G portfolio.
5G is a platform for innovation and with 2022 being the year when 5G will go live, it is very important for players to invest in further strengthening the ecosystem and for the government to support them. Most importantly 5G must be viewed as a critical part of national infrastructure – every bit as vital as trains and roads, and made available at reasonable prices at the earliest which will ensure the early introduction of 5G in the country.
India has great ambitions for digitizing society wherein 5G can play a fundamental role by increasing broadband connections, improving rural coverage, and thus bridging the digital divide. 5G will enable Industry 4.0 in India and increase the contribution of digital communications sector to India’s GDP.
For Ericsson, India is a strategic market, and we were the first telecom vendor to set up manufacturing in the country in 1994. Since then, we are catering to all requirements for supplies in the country from our facility in Pune along with exporting both 4G and 5G gear from India. Our Radio System hardware has been 5G-ready since 2015 enabling operators to upgrade to 5G with a remote software installation.
To conclude, given the Indian government’s focus on realizing Digital India and the digitalization of services’, 2022 will be a landmark year for the telecom equipment industry with the introduction of 5G! And Ericsson remains committed to helping Indian operators move seamlessly from 4G to 5G.